Knitting based on favorite books? What could be more perfect? Well, maybe a slightly higher ration of fantasy to realism in the titles, but that’s just quibbling.
Literary Knits by Nikol Lohr.
This is another one I snagged of the new nonfiction shelf at the library. Sadly, due to forces outside my control, I haven’t been knitting much recently, and so I wasn’t really looking for a knitting book to fall in love with. But fall in love I did. All my friends at Knit Night loved it, too, even though no one felt like they needed more projects to think about doing. The book starts off with a great intro and technique section. Lohr wisely assumes that if you’re going for a pattern book over a basic learn-to-knit book, you already know the basics of knitting. She focuses on intermediate and advanced techniques to give knitting a more professional look or make things a little easier, like how to join smoothly to knit in the round and how to do needle-less cables. Her notions section had some nifty suggestions I’d never seen before, and this is the only knitting book I’ve ever seen have a section on useful knitting apps. She also assumes that you might not be knitting with the recommended yarn: has a solid section on yarn substitution at the beginning, and every yarn used has a close-up photo and a description to help you find a similar yarn.
And then, on to the patterns. Each pattern is based on a favorite book (mostly classics), with a paragraph of introduction on re-reading the book and why Lohr designed the garment she did for each book: cozy bed socks for Wuthering Heights, for example, because on re-reading, the heroines spend far more time recovering in bed than gallivanting about the moors. Here are some of my favorite patterns: the girly and practical variations on the same mitten for Meg and Jo March; the sleek Daisy cloche; the Emma shawl for Madame Bovary, with an arsenic atom diagrammed into the center; the Galadriel hooded dress (even if the thought of knitting an entire hooded dress makes me go cross-eyed), the Jane Eyre shawl, the Anne Shirley Puff-Sleeve Top; the intricately cabled John Thornton scarf; and the Sydney Carton Cowl based on a Tale of Two Cities, with Morse code messaged knitted in. For children, the Oskar pullover had a lovely classic look, while the Edmund Crown/Hat nicely reverses from looking like a crown to looking like a plain hat. The Lyra hood’s cozy ruff hides the tiny embroidered Pantalaimon in the lining, and the Eppie bonnet is just sweet. Really, this is everything a knitting pattern book should be.